Slimpack Riding Boot, Conquest Carly and Joan of Arctic fashion Sorel boots. Photo by Adam Finkle.

Chunky—not to say clunky, bulky, low-to-the-ground and guaranteed to make your size 7 foot look like a men’s size 12—Sorels were not originally made with fashion in mind. Like the blues song says, they’re built for comfort, they’re not built for speed. 

After all, these are pack boots. Boots that work. 

Sorel, founded over 50 years ago in snowy Ontario, has become the genericized term (like “Kleenex” for “facial tissue”) for any heavy-duty, fur-lined, rubber-soled arctic boot, especially the top-selling “Caribou” style, introduced in 1972. 

But what’s this we see every January on the streets of Park City? Sorel-wearing starlets, that’s what. And wannabe starlets, and celebrities and celebrity-sniffers, all wearing the fashion that’s most functional in a mid-winter ski-town: Sorels. But not the old clunkers. When Columbia Sportswear acquired the Sorel name, they began turning this quintessential butch boot into a women’s fashion accessory. Meet Cate the Great and Joan of Arctic (this year available with a wedge!) The newest Conquest Carly even comes with a little heel. 

All in all, the most beautiful boot for running around in icky weather. Or red carpet. 

Go to for shops that carry Sorels in Utah.